Smt. Daya Ravi
Smt. Daya Ravi is the founder, director and choreographer of Natraj School of Indian Dance founded and established in 1996. She has been teaching Bharatanatyam theory and practice lessons at Natraj School of Indian Dance in Boyds, Maryland. She was introduced to this Divine art form from His Holiness Swami Haridhos Giri. Smt. Daya learned this art from Kalaimamani Smt. Krishnakumari Narendran in the Pandanallur style and Acharya Guru Sri. Udupi Lakshminarayanan in the Kanchipuram Ellappa style. She has intertwined the subtle nuances of both styles in all her choreographies.
Smt. Daya Ravi is certified in both theory and practical concepts of Indian Music and Dance. She periodically conducts Yoga and Theory workshops for students for a good understanding of classical dance.
Since childhood she has been performing worldwide in various prestigious venues. In 1980, Smt. Daya Ravi acted in the children’s dance movie “Purandaradasar” for which she received the best child artist award from the state of Tamil Nadu, India. She was invited by the Government of Sri Lanka for the official MayDay function and was personally honored by Late President Jayawardhana for her brilliant Shiva Thandavam. She started her teaching career as a dance teacher in Sivaswami Kalalaya School, Mylapore, India.
Smt. Daya Ravi is actively involved in promoting dance to the mainstream audience. She was teaching in the Montgomery Recreation department for several years. She has performed for FETNA, Indian Dance Educators Association (IDEA) festivals, Smithsonian Sackler Art Gallery in Washington DC, Dakshina’s Fall Festival at the Shakespeare Theater, National Cherry Blossom Festival, Wolf Trap children’s festival, and more. She has organized several Indo cultural shows for schools, libraries and museums, promoting and educating the richness of the art form both classical and folk.
She has organized several dance productions and workshops by visiting artists from India. Smt. Daya Ravi believes that art has a purpose. Hence, every year NSID donates its proceeds from its annual day to charities such as Upcounty Community Resources for disabled adults, hospitals, schools, cancer research centers, Oasis, HACSI and more. Also, every year, parents and students volunteer to cook for DC Central Kitchen in association with HACSI during Thanksgiving weekend. Daya has also organized several charitable and fundraiser dance programs for several organizations in India and in the USA.
NSID has graduated more than 25 students learning this classical art form. Smt. Daya not only promotes this Divine art form to her students but also strongly believes in inculcating a strong and deep foundation in Guru-Shishya (Teacher-Student) relationship and Bhakthi, or devotion, in young hearts. She teaches students to stay connected to Indian roots and cultures. She is also very grateful and thankful for all the bountiful showered blessings by her Gurus as most of her students continue the art form some way or the other even after their graduation.
Daya Ravi has been recognized and awarded by many organizations across the DC metro area for her service and teaching this Divine classical art form. She has been a teacher for special needs kids at Montgomery County Public School which has given her an enthralling experience to teach dance for them to let out their energy in a positive manner. Daya has been doing Yoga for more than 25 years and this experience has enabled her to teach students breathing techniques and the subtle nuances of their body as it is the instrument for a dancer. She teaches exercises and yoga asanas to understand their body and posture while dancing. She thanks her family for their continued support all these years to allow her to continue to teach this ancient art form which is her passion, life and breath. At this stage of life, dance for her is nothing but a moving meditation understanding the subtle nuances of the body. Dance is enabling her to keep her body, mind, spirit and soul in harmony which is the highest philosophy in a person’s life to achieve.